Week 5: 10 Stories in 10 Weeks

Army woman in a wheelchair celebrates winning the gold.
Army Spc. Elizabeth Wasil wins gold in the 1500-meter wheelchair race during the 2013 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo., DOD photo by EJ Hersom

Week #5’s story is done!  Just needs an edit and proofread to clean it up, and then it’ll be off on submission to an online magazine.  The theme I’m submitting to was war.  I figured that the publisher would get all kinds of submissions from male writers and few from female writers, and probably no one writing women characters.

The story needed to be flash fiction because that was the magazine’s requirement.  But I also had one, which was to make sure I wrote a story that wasn’t too theme specific.  If the magazine rejected it, I wanted to be able to find other markets fairly easily.

There was only one small problem …

I had no idea what the heck I was going to write!

Usually I have a generally idea by Sunday, but this time, I didn’t have anything.  War, fantasy, and flash fiction is a tough thing to put together.  Everything I was coming up with either was going to be a challenge getting the fantasy in, or was going too theme specific.  The short length was also presenting a challenge because the story has to get to the point pretty fast.

So I was in a bit of a panic because I have to finish a story and submit it by the end of the week.  I had to come up with something!

It kind of started with the question people always ask me about Desert Storm: “What was it like?”  I think every soldier lies when they answer this because no one wants to hear what it was really like.  By the time I got out at lunch and sat down to write, the idea had morphed into the secrets soldiers keep from each other.

It was about 900 words, and I wrote it in 30 minutes.

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